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Everything posted by Terrasanct

  1. I can't imagine there's anything realistic about the show, but it's still fun to watch. After all, if they were competent, it wouldn't be so much fun to yell at the tv! My favorite parts so far are the short guy in the tall toque and the 24 year old girl saying that Ramsey doesn't know what he's talking about. Oh yeah, and the stay at home dad. Why do these people think they should be on this show?
  2. Since I don't drink coffee, I hadn't thought about this at all, but the last time my husband and I were at Pike Place, he bought a cup of coffee and we were walking through the market. We stopped at the crumpet shop to pick up a bag to take home and get a few to eat on the way. They wouldn't let him come in the door with his coffee. We weren't trying to make them lose money by buying a beverage elsewhere; we were just walking around. Even though I can see not taking a coffee into a restaurant, are you just supposed to dump your pricey coffee every time you go into another place? It irritated me.
  3. The dinner was Friday night, and was a great success. I'd post some wonderful photos of the food...except that my husband, the professional photographer, was having too much fun and totally forgot to take photos. Hmmph. We had nine people; one of the couples had a sick spouse so they didn't show up. Here is the list of what I ended up serving: Roasted lamb with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and oregano, sliced thin Pitas Mini zaatar bread Lahm b'jeen Spinach pies made with puff pastry Grilled red peppers Feta Hummus Tzatziki Baba ganouj Labna balls Lebanese green olives Kalamata olives Feta "cigars" with filo pastry Grape tomatoes Ouzo Wine, soda, etc Baklava Dried figs Dates Two kinds of Turkish Delight Fruit platter with melons and grapes I had mixed up falafel, but it just wouldn't fry up; it all fell apart. No matter what I did, it wouldn't work, so I had to just stick it in the fridge and do without. I don't think I really needed it, anyway. How can I fix it? Does falafel freeze? I totally forgot to put out the sliced cucumbers and apple cider, too. There's always something forgotten in the last minute rush. I made baklava the old fashioned way, brushing between each layer. Lots of work but it turned out really well. I used ground almonds mixed with some pecans, lemon juice and rosewater in the syrup. It wasn't extremely sweet and didn't have any really sticky layers at the bottom, which I really liked. I basically followed the recipe in the Time Life Middle Eastern cookbook. My baba ganouj was a little bitter, but I think I was the only one who thought so. I think the eggplant was a bit bigger than I should have used. All in all everything was very good. Thanks for all the help from egullet!
  4. I ate one and didn't get sick, so they are probably fine. I hope.
  5. I admit that I have a fear of botulism, since I grew up canning things at home. I'm always cautious and would rather toss something than take any chances. But how do I know what's good when I buy it? I ordered some Lebanese green pickled olives online, and when I opened them they were really fizzy. I thought it was from being shaken, but after 20 minutes they are still fizzing. Is this normal? If I opened home-canned peaches and they were doing that I'd throw them away. But I've never had this sort of olive and am not sure what they are supposed to do. If anyone knows, please help. I took a very small bite after smelling them, and I still can't tell for sure.
  6. Now that my package is here, I have some more questions-- I opened the Lebanese green olives, and they are very fizzy, like spoiled canned fruit. Is this normal for them or have I poisoined myself by trying one? The jar continues to fizz ten minutes after I've opened it. Not like it was shaken, but like it is carbonated. A second question--how does one serve labna balls in oil? They're very strong and salty.
  7. I love that the three things are made with the same dough, cut into rounds. That will make it much easier. I second the request for the kibbe kebabs; they look interesting. Thanks for all the ideas! Now I need to get online and order some sumac and the Lebanese spice unless it's something I can make.
  8. I'm trying to figure out if those trays are really nice wooden boxes or the inserts from chocolate boxes! I just threw one of those out when I was cleaning and it looks just like that. I like how you've labeled things--I should do more of that. I can usually count on my nose to tell me what the spice is if I've bought it in bulk and lost the tag, but some of them can be tricky.
  9. Speaking of nuts, I have a question--how long will hazelnuts in the shell stay good? I've had some in my cupboard for a long time and they seem fine, but I have no idea how long to keep them.
  10. Wow, thanks for the ideas and photos, ChefCrash! Lovely and they give me lots of ideas. I'd forgotten about falafel, but that was one of the things I'd written down so long ago when I was starting to think about this. I haven't clicked on any of the links yet, so if there are any recipes that aren't there I'd sure love to have them. Thanks to everyone else who responded, too. I appreciate it.
  11. The best things in my house are from garage sales and thrift stores--almost all of my cookbooks, Le Creuset, AllClad, and three of the four KitchenAid mixers I've bought. I pass the displays in expensive stores and just kind of smile... See, I have to save money on my kitchenware so I can afford to buy fifty kinds of spices and a pantry full of stuff that I might never eat.
  12. Heidi, I missed your post while I was posting. I do love chocolate fountains, and I love the smell wafting through the entire place. But then I think about how that scent might overshadow the rest of the food. Maybe I just need to entertain more often so I can pull it out again.
  13. Oh, tea--that's a good idea. I don't drink tea so I hadn't thought about it. I have cardamom pods, too. What's a Jerusalem cucumber? Is that sauce similar to tzatziki? Oh, I just answered my own question when I looked it up: A similar dish is made in Iran called mast-o-khiar, literally meaning yogurt with cucumber. It is made using a thicker yogurt, which is mixed with sliced cucumber, garlic, and mint (sometimes chopped nuts are also added). Now that I think about it, having a chocolate fountain requires a fair amount of supervision, so maybe I'll skip it so I can relax and enjoy the party. I want to make it fun, and do ahead as much as I can so I don't have to be in the kitchen right beforehand. Would you serve fresh fruit and dates along with baklava?
  14. Considering that I'm in Billings, Montana, I'll get whatever feta is available and be glad! If we didn't have a Costco here I'm not sure what I'd do. I'm from the Seattle area (as I see you are) and miss the huge variety of foods immensely.
  15. I've heard people mention cucumber drinks before--it sounds so strange, but it would go with this kind of food, I think. Oh, I'll have Greek yogurt too, of course. This is an odd question, but would a chocolate fountain be totally out of place? I have one and don't get to use it very often, but I don't want it to be too strange. On the one hand, chocolate isn't really a component of Middle Eastern cuisine, but on the other hand, it would be very decadent, which is kind of what I'm going after. Thoughts?
  16. I like that kind of food the best--grilled meats, and lots of good stuff to put with it. I'll make some onion confit to go with--I think that will be really good. And roast some peppers, too. I'll have a few vegetarians over, but I think the lamb will be the only meat dish. It was one reason I chose this type of cuisine, since it tends to feature more naturally vegetarian options.
  17. I'll have to post a photo. I searched for one that I would like, but nothing was available locally and was too expensive online. So I just bought some test tubes, caps and corks, and a holder online from a supply company. I wouldn't have minded getting a smaller one, but I like this one. I had originally bought the test tubes and lids to put vanilla beans in, but liked the idea of a spice rack, too. Dean and DeLuca has one for about $150, which I liked but wasn't about to spend that much. I had a few smaller ones in my kitchen (repurposed toothbrush holders) but they didn't hold enough. So for about ten bucks for the rack https://www.testtubesonline.com/PhotoGaller...ode=211%2D0022W and not a whole lot of money for the tubes, I got something I'm happy with.
  18. I don't have people over very often because of our schedules, but I'm having about ten or twelve people over to dinner in two weeks. I'd like to make a Middle Eastern type of dinner--not sit down, but more of a buffet/appetizers type of thing. I don't want a formal dinner, and our table just isn't big enough, anyway. I'd like people to be able to wander around and get to know each other. I need help with the menu. I want it to be somewhat Middle Eastern but it can have Greek or whatever else works with that. I'm trying to think of things that can be eaten easily out of hand or while walking around, though there will be plenty of room to sit down, too, just not at the table. So while I'd normally make couscous, I'm not sure that's really buffet friendly. And I have to admit I'm a bit afraid to make kebabs because I'm worried someone will get poked. I'm a klutz myself so I always try to make things easier on other people just in case. I'd like to have lamb, hummus, homemade small pitas, baba ghanouj, olives, and maybe some things like feta, peppers, etc, anything that can be put in a pita. I'm thinking besides wine and beer, maybe some pomegranate juice, and dates and baklava. Any ideas? And not just about the food, but things I might not have thought about, like plate size, how much to prepare, how to display, etc. I appreciate any help.
  19. I have a better idea of what's in my pantry, now that I've been cleaning it all out. I did have to throw some things away. It's always hard to do that, but there are some things that I could never use up. And some of the spices were pretty old. I've got to stop buying them in large portions. A side benefit to the cleaning is that I've got my test tube rack filled with spices--it's pretty cool! I got a fifty-space test tube rack, and wasn't too surprised that I have fifty spices to put into it. Okay, I cheated a bit with the sesame seeds and wasabi powder, but it looks nice. Now to use up all the frozen soup...
  20. You know what I'd really like to do? Start a leftover exchange. I have so many great soups and stews in my freezer, but I like making them, so I'm always adding. I either need to have houseguests for a while or trade someone else for their leftovers. I don't want to waste the food, but it's hard to use it all up. A soup dinner party?
  21. I can't even begin to list what's in my fridge, freezer and pantry. It's a bit crazy. I did wake up this morning with the desire to clean out my fridge, though. And the freezer is FULL of things--mostly soups, stews, and the like, which I always make in huge portions even though there are only two of us here. You know it's time to clean the freezer when you run out of plastic storage containers. Of course, I'm going to be adding more to the freezer tomorrow--making a bunch of pizzas. They get used up pretty quickly, though, since they are so easy to stick in the oven for dinner.
  22. I've ordered a few times from Vanilla Products, and the beans are great. It's nice to have soft ones, rather than the fossilized specimens that are usually found at the store. And they're so much cheaper!
  23. I'm sure that's why a lot of people don't cook. Even those of us who love to cook have days we don't cook, for whatever reason. I'm lucky enough to work from home, but it doesn't mean that I do much in the kitchen besides pass through it on some days. But cooking something simple at home is still better than eating fast food. And if there are two adults in the house who know how to cook, so much the better.
  24. GenX cooks, too. I have five kids of that generation, and they all cook quite well. But as I mentioned upthread, I always cooked, and they learned how from me. The fact that I was a single mom for many years may have had something to do with it. They had to be competent at an early age. Now guys in aprons...that's the same as a guy taking care of a baby--a woman looks at him and thinks nurturer. A guy who can take care of a baby and cook a meal might be a guy who is sensitive in other areas, too.
  25. Maybe it's all about craftsmanship. Craftswomanship? I really enjoy seeing people work with their hands, especially when it's things I don't know how to do myself. I used to know a cabinetmaker, and was fascinated by the tools, the smell of the wood, the fine details and polishing. My hands don't know how to do those things. Skills are being lost--well, not lost really, just not passed on and enjoyed the way they used to be. I love old buildings. I live in a house that's over 100 years old, with built-in china cabinets and bookshelves, and extras. I like homemade food, the extras you get when you make your own--the smell of the kitchen when you bake bread that doesn't come with the loaf from the store, no matter how good it tastes. I'm 46, and I felt that cooking was an important skill. I have also canned, gathered wild edibles, caught fish, and I would hunt if I had the energy to do it. Just because I can buy all my food at the store doesn't mean I don't want to know how to prepare it myself. Whether it's sexy, or feminist or an anachronism, cooking is still important.
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